Apartment dwellers often debate whether or not their apartments are safe and if they should move to more secure housing if the area has a high risk of natural catastrophes, especially hurricanes. The uncertainty is understandable, but are apartment buildings safe during storms?
The short answer is yes; apartment buildings can be safe during hurricane season. However, it depends on several factors. The quality of the material used in construction and the standards that are followed determine the strength of the building; therefore, they also predict the security of the building during a hurricane.
Apartments might not be able to be as secure as homes are, but measures can be taken to secure oneself in apartment buildings.
High-rise apartment structures are made with a strong emphasis on safety. Engineers decide how sturdy a design must be to endure all the forces and weather it will encounter. This refers to wind speed in hurricane-prone areas.
The construction is intended to resist the anticipated weather conditions even before putting in safety measures. Apartment complexes are built to survive storms of a magnitude we’re probably and hopefully never going to see. However, if your weather experts instruct you to evacuate, heed the warning and do so!
Factors That Determine Safety In Apartments During A Hurricane
Several factors affect apartment safety during hurricane season. Inquiring about these and having knowledge may put your mind at ease and help you prepare accordingly.
Type Of Apartment You Have
The level of safety during a hurricane varies depending on what floor you live on in the building. However, the category and severity of the tropical storm can also play a role in this. Staying on the bottom floor is risky if significant floods are predicted.
On the other side, if you’re living on the top floor, strong gusts can cause potential harm. Therefore, it’s necessary to evacuate or to be prepared.
Building’s Safety Standards
The guidelines outlined in your building are another essential factor in determining your apartment’s safety. According to researchers, structures made of concrete are far more storm-resistant than those made of lumber or steel. Concrete walls are sturdy enough to withstand flying debris from hurricane-force winds. It will be significantly safer if your apartment building is constructed according to regulations and on a sturdy foundation.
Severity Of The Hurricane
A Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale classifies hurricanes into five categories according to their severity. It measures their wind speeds which gives you an idea of how strong a storm might be and how much impact it might have.
Some storms occur throughout the year, although a few can be disastrous. You should be in touch with the news and the weather informant if there is a predicted hurricane. So, you must determine the hurricane’s potential for destruction and prepare accordingly.
Damages That May Occur
No matter the geographic location of a building, it is generally vulnerable to the following different dangers from stormwater and wind:
The building’s structural integrity risk increases with distance from the shoreline, where the storm winds are fiercest. As the wind speed increases, the risk of breaching the building envelope rises significantly because the wind exerts a significant strain on the structure.
Although hurricane shutters are often erected on buildings in storm-prone areas to protect the windows, they can and do malfunction.
Buildings are flooded because of the hurricane’s high wind pressure and significant rainfall. In a typical cyclone, water penetration is the factor that damages buildings the most. Even if the windows don’t shatter, water can still enter through small gaps such as those around windows and doors, penetrations within the structure, or when the exterior, roof, or siding is compromised.
Four different types of damage, including tearing off roofs, denting metal roofs, peeling back membranes, and peeling away flashings and copings, are brought on by wind or wind-blown debris. Wind speeds as low as 65 mph can cause damage to roofing materials, and many roofs begin to disintegrate above 90 mph.
How To Prepare For Hurricane Season
Natural catastrophes can occur anywhere, at any moment, including your apartments. Various elements determine whether your flat is secure during hurricane season. Based on the regular weather patterns and anticipated storm activity, different building materials and codes apply in other parts of the world.
Particular areas are more vulnerable to natural disasters such as hurricanes. Apartment residents must know how to prepare for storms if they reside near tropical or subtropical waters.
After evaluating the security of your apartment building, you must assess whether there is a need to evacuate. It would help if you had a plan to execute as soon as the government gives warning signals.
While evacuating, carry your documents and essential gadgets with you. They might need to be in a good state when you return.
Security Within The Apartment Building
If you are choosing to stay, try moving to a place that is on a lower floor. The ground floor or basements are preferred. Once in this area, try to shelter in an area with no windows. In an apartment building, you may find a space under a stairwell or in the hallway of the building.
These places are more secure than being out in the open. These are the safest places during a hurricane.
Create a bag that has all the necessary items you might need. These include food items, flashlights, water, documents, gadgets, a radio, sanitation supplies, and something for entertainment.
Keep the bag with you wherever you choose to shelter out. Make sure there is ample non-perishable food to last you through the duration of the hurricane.
Apartment buildings are fun to live in but can be challenging during hurricanes. However, all hope is not lost. There are places in apartment buildings where you can temporarily shelter and stay safe. Once the storm is over, you can return to your abode.